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Lot 56

John Kennedy's Bathing Trunks From a Carefree Time on His Sailboat, The Honey Fitz

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Lot 56

John Kennedy's Bathing Trunks From a Carefree Time on His Sailboat, The Honey Fitz


Striped green and brown swim trunks with buttons and a zippered fly belonging to President JFK. Recovered from the Presidential yacht "Honey Fitz", which was named after his charismatic maternal grandfather who helped him to win his first seat in congress. These polyester swim trunks were regularly worn by the President while vacationing with his family. Accompanied by a Letter of Provenance from Priscilla Hirschy, stating the Green and Brown Striped Swim trunks comes directly from the family of Lieutenant Henry E. Hirschy, Jr. SC United States Navy. An image of which will also display in the lot.

JFK's favorite sport was swimming. He was on the Harvard swim team and his swimming skills ultimately allowed him to save the lives of his crew members in WWII, and consequently be celebrated as a war hero. But his passion and one of the few constants in his life, was sailing. Whether it was summers spent as a child off the shores of Cape Cod, or operating a Naval Patrol Boat near the Solomon Islands, President Kennedy was constantly near the sea. It became one of his safe spaces, a refuge from the pressures of leading America in the Cold War.

Young Jack started sailing small boats as a child, and even won some events - including the Nantucket Sound Star Class Championship Cup in 1936, and the MacMillan Cup and East Coast Collegiate Championships in 1938 (with his brother Joe). John was a good sailor, and he loved to sail big yachts such as the Manitou, but he favored small boats throughout his life, appreciating the simplicity, intimacy and ease of handling that a good little sailboat provides. According to Dave Powers (former head of NAIA, author of "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye", and a long-time close associate of Kennedy), President Kennedy had some of his happiest moments aboard the "Honey Fitz". A life-long lover of the sea, the President liked to slip away from the White House for a few quiet hours on the yacht in the Potomac. He also spent Easter and Christmas on the boat (in Palm Beach, FL) and in September and October took time aboard her at Hammersmith Farm (Newport, RI). The vessel was used primarily for family and close friends, though dignitaries visited from time to time. Documentation confirms that the boat was also used to transfer guests down the Potomac River to Mount Vernon for one of President Kennedy's State dinners. From the President's birthday (May 29) until approximately mid-September, the yacht was kept at Cape Cod and used every weekend. President Kennedy loved to spend time alone with his children on the yacht. The fact these swimming trunks were recovered from his boat "Honey Fitz" allows one an important brief touch-point to the more personal side of this President.

Provenance: From the estate of the Hirschy family and includes the official White House ID card worn by LT. H. Hirschy. Lieutenant Hirschy was Supply and Logistics Officer for the Military Aides to the President and Officer-in-Charge of the Navy Mess in the White House during both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. His duties also included taking care of the President’s needs on overseas trips, aboard the presidential yachts and at Camp David. Lt. Hirschy served in the White House from May 1, 1961 through May 31, 1965.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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